Thematic issue on Old-Age Exclusion
Call for Expression of Interest
Over the last decades, the idea of active ageing spread around Europe (Forster & Walker, 2015). Active ageing is the answer to the challenges posed by population ageing promoted by international organisations such as the European Commission (2018), the United Nations (2002) and the World Health Organization (2002). Even though the concept is primarily used promote older individuals as a productive factor, it also has a broader understanding, one in which older individuals are conceived as full members of society (Boudiny, 2013; Forster & Walker, 2015; Walker, 2008). In the latter way, the concept of active ageing refers to older individuals being full citizens of society (Walker, 2002), reflecting Marshall’s (1950) understanding of citizenship in which full citizenship is reached when individuals actively participate in social and political life, and have a feeling of belonging to the community on equal footing with the others.
However, there remain a number of structural barriers to the full participation of older individuals in society. Limited resources can act as a barrier (Zaidi, 2012): as Rawls (1973) points out with the concept of ‘worth of liberty’, having certain rights is not sufficient in itself since it requires a certain amount of resources to exercise one’s rights. As such, economic exclusion of older individuals, for instance through insufficient pension benefits (e.g., Peeters & De Tavernier, 2015), can lead to both social and political (or civic) exclusion. Another structural barrier is ageism (Butler, 1969). Ageist ideas are still widespread in European societies (Ayalon & Tesch-Römer, 2018; 2017), leading to exclusion of older individuals from several domains of life, including but not limited to the labour market. Swift et al. (2017) discuss three mechanisms through which ageism hampers older individuals’ realisation of active ageing and its dimensions: stereotype embodiment, stereotype threat and discrimination. Preventing older individuals from actively contributing to the community could be detrimental for their well-being, as the feeling of uselessness appears to be one of the main triggers of feelings of loneliness in them (Aartsen & Jylhä, 2011). Likewise, the environment one lives in can act as a barrier to full inclusion. Buffel et al. (2013) relate neighbourhood factors to exclusion of older individuals and elucidate coping strategies older individuals employ in order to avoid ending up excluded in those areas. In a sweeping review of the literature, Walsh et al. (2017) identify services as a sixth domain shaping old-age exclusion, next to social, economic and civic exclusion, ageism and neighbourhood. Moreover, the authors point at the role of states, societies and communities play in old-age exclusion. The study of exclusion in rural communities on the Irish isles by Walsh et al. (2014) illustrates the interdependence of these levels in reaching inclusion of older individuals.
Older individuals do not make up a homogeneous group in society. Forster and Walker (2013) as well as Paz and colleagues (2018) have argued that a gendered analysis of active ageing is needed, given the gender gap in life expectancy, health, income and social context. Due to these gender gaps, old-age exclusion could follow a very different pattern for men and women. Aartsen & Jylhä (2011) for instance find that gender differences in loneliness in old age can largely be explained by the different contexts older men and women live in. Walsh et al. (2017), on the other hand, find that other social categorisations have received even less attention in the old-age exclusion literature than gender. Hence, an intersectional approach can contribute to a deeper understanding of old-age exclusion.
The thematic issue aims to collect articles focusing on structural factors, be they cultural or political, contributing to social exclusion of older individuals or preventing their full participation in society. We particularly welcome papers that seek to engage in political debate, either by critically assessing current policies, or by proposing measures to deal with particular types of old-age exclusion. Papers can deal with older individuals in general, or they can apply an intersectional approach focusing on specific sub-groups within the population of older individuals.
The thematic issue will be published in the open access journal Social Inclusion (ISSN 2183-2803), and the aim is for the thematic issue to be published in August/September 2019 (Vol. 7, issue 3). Since it is an open access journal, there is a fee of 900 EUR per article for publication. Many academic institutions now cover open access publication fees, but we will try to find external funding for some articles if the authors are not able to cover the publication fees themselves.
Wouter De Tavernier is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Centre for Comparative Welfare Studies, Aalborg University (Denmark), where he also attained his Ph.D. His main expertise is in the field of social policy, particularly in relation to older workers, the retirement transition and pension policies, as well as eldercare. Before moving to Denmark, he was a research assistant in the field of pension policies at the Centre for Sociological Research, KU Leuven (Belgium), to which he is still connected.
Marja Aartsen is Research Professor at NOVA—Norwegain Social Research at OsloMet—Oslo Metropolitan University (Norway), and editor of the European Journal of Ageing. Her research interest is on developments in social functioning of older adults, (exclusion from) relationships with others and how that changes with ageing. Her focus is on the statistical modelling of longitudinal processes and the developmental origins of social and cognitive functioning in later life. She has a background in Sociology, and received her PhD at the VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Aim and strategy
Social Inclusion is an open access journal indexed in Web of Science (ESCI), Scopus and other databases. The open access format is well suited to reach out not only to the academic community, but also to stakeholders, practitioners and policy-makers in the field of old-age exclusion. Therefore, we would like to use this thematic issue as a means to inspire policy-makers and weigh in on their decisions. That is why we are particularly interested in papers with a message about policies, be it an evaluation of existing policies, or a call to action with particular proposals of how a certain facet of old-age exclusion could be targeted.
Expression of interest
Authors interested in submitting a paper for this issue are asked to consult the journal’s editorial policies and to express their interest by sending an email to Wouter De Tavernier ([log in to unmask]) by 30 June 2018, with the journal’s editorial office in cc ([log in to unmask]). Please include a tentative title and list of co-authors, if applicable, and indicate if you are able to cover the publication fee yourself. Abstracts are due 15 September 2018.
Timeline - deadlines
30 June 2018: Expression of interest by potential authors
15 September 2018: Submission of abstracts
22 September 2018: Editors’ decision upon abstracts
15 December 2018: Submission of full papers
31 December 2018: Editors’ decision upon articles (first screening)
01 January to 15 June 2019: Peer-review process
15 July 2019: Revisions by the authors
31 July 2019: Editors’ final decision
31 August 2019: Publication
Aartsen, M., & Jylhä, M. (2011). Onset of loneliness in older adults: Results of a 28-year prospective study. European Journal of Ageing, 8(1), 31-38.
Ayalon, L., & Tesch-Römer, C. (Eds.). (2018). Contemporary Perspectives on Ageism. Berlin: Springer.
Ayalon, L., & Tesch-Römer, C. (2017). Taking a closer look at ageism: Self- and other-directed ageist attitudes and discrimination. European Journal of Ageing, 14(1), 1-4.
Boudiny, K. (2013). “Active ageing”: From empty rhetoric to effective policy tool. Ageing & Society, 33(6), 1077-1098.
Buffel, T., Phillipson, C., & Scharf, T. (2013). Experiences of neighbourhood exclusion and inclusion among older people living in deprived inner-city areas in Belgium and England. Ageing & Society, 33(1), 89-109.
Butler, R. N. (1969). Age-ism: Another form of bigotry. The Gerontologist, 9(4), 243-246.
European Commission. (2018). Active Ageing. European Commission. Retrieved from ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1062&langId=ent
Foster, L., & Walker, A. (2015). Active and successful aging: A European policy perspective. The Gerontologist, 55(1), 83-90.
Foster, L., & Walker, A. (2013). Gender and active ageing in Europe. European Journal of Ageing, 10(1), 3-10.
Marshall, T. H. (1950). Citizenship and social class and other essays. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Paz, A., Doron, I., & Tur-Sinai, A. (2018). Gender, aging, and the economics of “active aging”: Setting a new research agenda. Journal of Women & Aging, 30(3), 184-203.
Peeters, H. & De Tavernier, W. (2015). Lifecourses, pensions and poverty among elderly women in Belgium: interactions between family history, work history and pension regulations. Ageing & Society, 35(6), 1171-1199.
Rawls, J. (1973). A theory of justice. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Swift, H., Abrams, D., Lamont, R. A., & Drury, L. (2017). The risks of ageism model: How ageism and negative attitudes towards age can be a barrier to active aging. Social Issues and Policy Review, 11(1), 195-231.
United Nations. (2002). Political declaration and Madrid international plan of action on ageing. New York, NY: United Nations.
Walker, A. (2008). Commentary: The emergence and application of active aging in Europe. Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 21(1), 75-93.
Walker, A. (2002). A strategy for active ageing. International Social Security Review, 55(1), 121-139.
Walsh, K., O’Shea, E., Scharf, T., & Shucksmith, M. (2014). Exploring the impact of informal practices on social exclusion and age-friendliness for older people in rural communities. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 24(1), 37-49.
Walsh, K., Scharf, T., & Keating, N. (2017). Social exclusion of older persons: A scoping review and conceptual framework. European Journal of Ageing, 14(1), 81-98.
World Health Organization. (2002). Active ageing: A policy framework. Geneva: World Health Organization.
Zaidi, A. (2012). Exclusion from material resources: Poverty and deprivation among older people in Europe. In T. Scharf & N. C. Keating (Eds.), From exclusion to inclusion in old age: A global challenge (pp. 71-88). Bristol: Policy Press.
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